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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1216 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The Gallop report presents a picture of a system that is in urgent need of reform, including a reform of culture. We must see organisational learning occurring in this public service section. I am not an expert on organisational learning, but I have done a bit of reading on it.

For me, this report has thrown up the whole issue of the culture of the public service. I have never been a public servant, so I have been trying to get a sense of how you can actually make these changes. (Extension of time granted.)

The whole question of organisational learning has to be taken on in a proactive way by the government, and I hope that we do actually see that occur with the new Labor government. Even if there is a process to look at the fairness or not of allegations against officials, a pretty strong argument has been developed in this report already that such major change is needed that you could not logically expect those who have been in charge of that system for so long to be the ones to actually move it forward.

However, as I said, there is ministerial responsibility here as well. We have a change of ministers now, and we have a change of government. The failings of the past government can be put behind us. I am hoping to see from this government a much more proactive and creative response to the issue of support for people with disabilities.

In his first statement of support for the senior officials, Mr Stanhope also said that he had confidence in them because the health board itself had confidence, but the board itself was mentioned in this report and criticised. I therefore do not understand why that was used as a rationale for supporting the public servants, but I look forward to hearing the response from government on that.

If we, as a society and as an Assembly, want to see the recommendations of this report implemented, then it is my view that it is very important to bring in the community in the way that Jon Stanhope has done, and to set up a consultative environment. I was interested in one of the recommendations in the report, for some kind of disability institute. While I think that is an interesting idea, it is difficult in the public service to take risks. If you have the capacity for risk-taking-such creative ideas come out from the community all the time as well-you can have small pilots and trials for different models, which are not hugely expensive and which are not going to burden the public service with risks that they feel they cannot take, or their culture does not allow them to take.

I think it is really worth being prepared to look at different ways of feeding these creative new ideas into the system. Maybe they will not all work, but people in the community themselves often come up with suggestions that have not really been given a fair go. That is just a process suggestion that may help to push forward the basic thrust of this report.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.33 to 2.30 pm.

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